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Art & Soul 2023 Celebration

As the year draws to a close, we would like to take the opportunity to reflect on everything that Art & Soul has accomplished throughout 2023.


From in-person workshops, online meet-ups, gallery visits and even our first in-person exhibition since 2019 - the last twelve months have been packed full of exciting opportunities for our growing community of artists.


Thank you to everyone who has supported Art & Soul in any way throughout 2023 - from our artists to our wonderful facilitators and those who visited our exhibitions.


We look forward to sharing our plans for 2024 with you, and we are delighted to announce the first dates for our in-person workshops taking place at the start of the year. Read on to find out more!


We hope you all have a wonderful holiday period and a peaceful new year.


The Art & Soul Team


 

Art & Soul’s 2023 Achievements


The National Lottery Funding


As part of The National Lottery Community Fund, in 2023 Art & Soul was awarded £10,000 to improve mental health and wellbeing. This funding allowed us to facilitate three courses of in-person workshops in Twickenham to support more adults struggling with mental health issues in South-West London. 


Exchange Workshops


In 2023, Art & Soul offered two courses of in-person art workshops to its community.


Taking place at The Exchange in Twickenham, these sessions allowed an opportunity to explore how art can improve mental health and emotional well-being in a supportive group. 


In 2024, Art & Soul’s regular in-person workshops will continue at The Exchange on Thursdays from 11am - 1pm. The dates of these sessions can be found below:


18th January

25th January

1st February


(two week half-term break)

 

22nd February

29th February

7th March


Tickets will be released at 10am on Monday 11th December via this Eventbrite link - if you have any questions please email Maddy at maddy.howell@artandsoul.org.uk.



Art & Soul Online


In November, we held our final Art & Soul Online session of 2023.A regular remote community meet-up to help maintain social connection through creativity and art making online. Since we began offering these sessions during the height of pandemic, it has blossomed into a supportive and heartwarming place where the group have shared their creations, emotions, and general life musings. The Art & Soul Online Facebook Page remains as a legacy for this project.


Led by our trained artists, the fortnightly sessions have offered a calming, relaxed environment for making art, as expressed by our participants:


🌟 “I can create art and join in with the group in a safe non-judgemental space. This makes me feel safe and encouraged which helps lift my mood and reduces social isolation.” 


🌟 “They give me something to look forward to. People to engage with who share enjoying art. Takes my mind off stressful things.” 


Flourishing Together


In June, the Art & Soul community came together at St Mary's Church in Twickenham for our first in-person exhibition since 2019.


Coinciding with the much-loved St Mary's Church Annual Fair, ‘Flourishing Together’ brought together over 70 exhibiting artists and attracted over 350 visitors. Officially opened by the Mayor of Richmond upon Thames, Cllr Suzette Nicolson, many artworks were sold, raising funds for the artists and for Art & Soul to continue its work.


The exhibition also hosted a family art for wellbeing workshop, led by artist Diana Burch, which was such a success that we had to source some extra tables to facilitate the number of families who dropped in!


The exhibition was dedicated to Lucy Bradley and Alan Cartwright, two valued members of the Art & Soul community who passed away in the last year. Our Visitor Book overflowed with heartfelt comments, a testament to the profound impact our exhibition had on those who experienced it:


🌟 "So happy to be part of Art & Soul again!"


🌟 "What a beautiful and diverse selection of artwork with such an important message."


🌟 "Wow – what a fantastic exhibition celebrating how art can help mental health."



Other Exhibitions


Throughout 2023, Art & Soul members were given the opportunity to feature their work as part of some amazing exhibitions.


In April, our friends at Hope in the Heart hosted 'Messages from the HeART', an exhibition to give a voice to people with lived experience of mental health.


In September, Art & Soul worked in partnership with UCL to deliver a one-day pop-up art exhibition to celebrate the end of a research project into 'Open Dialogue' therapy, a new form of mental health care that's been offered in a trial by NHS England. Here, Art & Soul members showed their artwork related to themes of identity, representation, language, experiences of care/therapy, and mental health.


Age UK Richmond Partnership


In October, Art & Soul teamed up with Age UK Richmond to host some wellbeing art sessions for people living with Dementia and their Carers.


A space to escape the worries of our lives, as well as allowing participants to embrace their creativity, the sessions also encouraged social interaction. From learning about the origins of tin art together to celebrating the Mexican Day of the Dead, the group enjoyed talking to one another and even made new friends along the way.


Thank you to everyone who came along to these workshops and to our wonderful arts therapists who guided the sessions.


Children and Young People


Throughout 2023, Art & Soul has continued to provide art sessions to children and young people in South West London, many of whom are accessing Child and Adolescent Mental Heath Services (CAMHS).


Facilitating opportunities for social interaction, we have partnered with the likes of Achieving For Children and the NHS Adolescent Outreach Team to offer young people the chance to experiment with a range of art materials and processes. 


Exhibition Visits


In 2023, Art & Soul provided its members with opportunities to visit exhibitions in the local area and beyond. 


In June, we facilitated a group visit to Teddington's Landmark Arts Centre for Gaia, an exhibition created by artist Luke Jerram.


In August, a group of Art & Soul participants visited Orleans House Gallery to experience ‘The Complexity of Touch’, the latest exhibition by Richmond-based artist Madi Boyd. During our visit, we were lucky enough to receive a fantastic talk from Madi Boyd about the project, and it was incredible to learn more about her approach to art and science.


More recently, a group visited the National Gallery’s popular Frans Hals exhibition to learn more about one of the greatest painters in Western art. 

An exhibition of warm-hearted paintings, the visit was thoroughly enjoyed by those who attended. Below is some of their feedback:🌟 “I don’t usually enjoy ‘old masters’ work but Frans Hals is exceptional. It seems to be a turning point in how people’s character is shown in portraiture. There is fun and a real connection between the artist and his sitters. He seems to make very precise and detailed paintings of the ladies whilst the men are more roughly treated. I think it may be because the women were the ones who brought the wealth that paid for the marriage portraits.”🌟 “I was very impressed by the Frans Hals exhibition. It wasn’t something I’d have booked myself, so thank you for arranging such an enjoyable outing with lovely people from Art & Soul.”


We hope to continue these exhibition visits in 2024 on a regular basis. Please email Betsy - betsy.lewis-holmes@artandsoul.org.uk - with any recommendations as we can often get free group tickets. We can also enquire about remote tours.




Opportunities to Engage


Art & Soul will be holding a Sketchbook Social online event in January (hosted by Outside In) - please watch this space for more information and to book your place.


Donate to Art & Soul


We are extremely grateful for any donations, which will go towards ensuring Art & Soul can continue its work to help improve the mental health of the local community.  Click here to support Art & Soul.


 

On behalf of the charity, we appreciate you being a part of Art & Soul and want to thank you for continuing to be part of the community. 


We look forward to welcoming you in 2024.

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